Grameen Bank

The Grameen Bank (literally, “Village Bank”) is a bank specializing in micro-credit . It was officially created in 1976 by Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh . It has nearly 1,400 branches and works in more than 50,000 villages . Since its inception, it has disbursed $ 4.69 billion in loans and has repayment rates of nearly 96.54%.

The organization and its founder were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 1 . Ole Danbolt Mjøs (chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee ) said that “lasting peace can not be achieved without a significant part of the population finding ways out of poverty” and “microcredit is one of these means . Its founder, Muhammad Yunus , was fired from Grameen Bank on March 2, 2011, likely due to pressure from the Bangladeshi government.


Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank.

The founder of the bank is Muhammad Yunus , Ph.D. in economics from Vanderbilt University in the United States. The idea came to him during a terrible famine in Bangladesh in 1974. The loan of US $ 27 (without the risks of “pawnbrokers”) to a group of 42 families allowed them to create small items for sale. Yunus believed that offering such large-scale loans could improve the poverty situation in rural Bangladesh.

The Grameen Bank was born Muhammad Yunus’s ideas. The bank begins as a Yunus research project associated with Bangladesh’s Chittagong University of Bangladesh’s Economic and Rural Projects, to test its credit and banking methods for poor rural areas. In 1976, the village of Jobra and other nearby villages of Chittagong University are the first to benefit from the services of Grameen Bank. The bank is a huge success and the project, with the help of the government, is extended in 1979 to Tangail district (north of the capital Dhaka). The success of the bank continues and spreads to other districts of Bangladesh. In 1983, it was transformed into an independent bank by the Government of Bangladesh and was inaugurated on the 2nd with the Minister of Finance 2 as guest of honor .

At the beginning of xxi th century, the bank continues to expand across the country, and continues to offer small loans to the rural poor. In mid-2006, the bank has more than 2,100 agencies . His success has inspired similar projects around the world.

The microcredit method

These principles form the basis of microcredit and the management of self-help groups, which operates in more than 43 countries. You lend money to a group of 5 people, and it is no longer possible for the group to borrow again if one of the five people fails. This creates a group dynamic in terms of accountability (so that other members of the group can borrow again), thus increasing the economic viability of the Grameen Bank .

In a country where few women have access to credit through traditional banks, the Grameen Bank has focused on women 3 . Indeed, they represent 97% of borrowers. A World Bank study found that women’s access to micro-credit allows them to have better access to resources and better participation in decision-making. Other economists believe that the link between micro-credit and women’s liberation is, however, less important. In other respects, the Grameen Bank is also quite remarkable, its repayment rate exceeds 98%. However, according to the Wall Street Journala fifth of the repayments would be at least 1 year late in 2001. The Grameen Bank defends itself by stating that more than half of the borrowers in Bangladesh (nearly 50 million) have been lifted out of poverty thanks to their loans. Specifically, all children of school age are in school, all members of a family eat 3 meals a day, have toilets, a rain-proof house, have access to drinking water, and are able to repay 300 taka per week (about 3 euros ).

Some figures

The Grameen Bank is owned by the poor borrowers, most of whom are women. The bank is 97% owned by borrowers and 3% owned by the Bangladeshi government.

The bank had a significant growth between 2003 and 2007, in October 2007 it counts 7.34 million borrowers, of whom 97% are women. The number of borrowers has more than doubled since 2003, at that time it had only 3.12 million members. Similar growth can be observed in the number of villages covered. In October 2007, the bank had 24,703 employees , with 2,468 branches covering 80,257 villages , compared to 43,681 villages in 2003. Since its inception, the bank has granted Tb 347.75 billion in loans ( $ 4.3 billion). euros); Tk 313.11 billion ( 3.9 billioneuros) have been reimbursed. The bank claims a recovery rate of 98.35%, compared to the 95% recovery in 1998.

However, several critics [Who?] [By whom?] Question the value announced as well as the method of calculation used by the Grameen Bank to arrive at this figure. [evasive]


A section of the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt ( CADTM ) highlights the ambiguity even cynicism of corporate Muhammad Yunus 4 .

Bangladesh feminist Edwige Peemans Poullet virulently criticizes the Grameen Bank in “The miniaturization of indebtedness of poor countries goes through women” February 2000 5 , 6 .

Notes and references

  1. ↑ Nobel Prize for peace in 2006 on the official website of the Nobel Foundation  [ archive ]
  2. ↑ Philippe Lukacs Strategy for a desirable future. Four exemplary creations for innovative management , Dunod,p.  54.
  3. ↑ Grammeen Bank study- Microcredit in Bangladesh as a means of empowerment [ archive ] Valérie Gilbert, January 2009, CA Poissant Research Chair in Governance and Development Assistance, UQAM, January 2009
  4. ↑ Muhammad Yunus: Nobel ambiguity or cynicism?  [ archive ]
  5. ↑ The miniaturization of indebtedness of poor countries goes through women  [ archive ]
  6. ↑ Interview of Edwige Peemans Poullet performed by Défis Sud in 2002  [ archive ]

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